To me, there are five main areas which come together to compose a Waldorf homeschool:
The Inner Work and Inner Life of the Teacher – this is of paramount importance, and the basis and foundation of Waldorf homeschooling. Who you are and where you are on your inner path and spiritual work is more important than the subject you teach. Your will, your rhythms, your outlook, your spiritual work, will determine far more for your child than anything else – especially in the world of homeschooling where you are both parent and teacher.
An Understanding of Childhood Developmental Phases – I write about childhood development extensively on this blog. Suffice it to say the view in Waldorf Education is that the human being is a spiritual being and that we continue to change, develop and grow throughout our lifetime.
Temperament of the grades-aged child (and in the teen years, emotion and personality) – We need to recognize not only the temperaments associated with the various developmental stages, but also the temperament of our own child and ourselves and how to bring balance to that within our homeschooling experiences.
An Understanding of the Curriculum and How to Adapt it to Your Child and Homeschool: We can start with such things as Steiner’s lectures and the secondary literature of the pedagogy. However, the time we live in, the local geography, customs, language, local festivals and cultural events are all points in which the learning experience starts within the child and the child’s world. So, therefore, we must be familiar with not only the curriculum, but also with our own child and our own observations and meditation as to what that child needs, and then how to have the curriculum fulfill the needs of the child. Dogmatic story-art-summary rhythms are often not helpful in the home environment and there are many ways to bring the rhythms of Waldorf Education to the home.
An Ability to “DO”, rather than just read. This includes not only the ability to hold a rhythm and be organized, but also the ability to learn new things for oneself both in the area of the arts and in academic subjects. For example, few of us were taught geometry the way the curriculum is outlined, and one most be willing to take a subject, even a familiar subject and see how to dig into it and look at it from a spiritual perspective and to view art as a spiritual activity.
Hi thank you for sharing this vital information.If you dont mind can explain further what you mean that the Dogmatic story-art-summary rhythms are often not helpful for home environment? do you believe this to be the case more so with saints and old testament stories? how does one who follows a particular faith teach the child about the saints in their faith without being dogmatic or is it alright to be as that is natural because that is te faith one follows? for example if I believe Jesus peace an blessings be on him, is exemplary for instance in genorosity, then if i use a particular story for saints block in grade 2, is that being dogmatic? perhaps you mean the method in which the story content is delivered and the teaching style? i am 3 months old into waldorf homeschooling so thanks for bearing with me!
Yes, I mean more of delivery. There are many ways one can explore and deepen the themes, people, ideas presented within the Waldorf Curriculum in the home environment. It doesn’t all have to be story=drawing-summary. I think yes, sometimes with Saints and Old Testament it is important to remember to make dioramas, create puppet shows or little plays, work on crafts that tie in, work on drawing the animals of the saint stories or modeling for example, those sort of things. So, yes, I meant more lesson delivery than a particular story. I think the themes and stories we choose should also complement and fill that child’s need, temperament, and light our own fire as well. Usually the story of Jesus is taught in sixth grade in conjunction with Roman studies and along with some of the great Islamic figures, Buddha is placed in fifth by many, etc. However, there are many ways to tailor the curriculum to your place in the world and your own family culture. But yes, I primarily meant don’t be afraid to ditch the main lesson book! 🙂